March 25, 2013
The Empty Cream Colored Bowl
In the short story “Janus” written in 1986 by Ann Beattie, despites a woman who over time become obese with a cream colored bowl. Beattie in “Janus” portrays how people will often hang on to things order to fill a void in their live. Beattie shows that through the techniques of setting, characterization and symbolism. The story central character is not a real character at all, but in fact is an animated object. Andrea a successful real estate agent had it both ways, a husband and a lover on the side. Andrea attributes her real estate success to the bowl’s ability to appeal to various groups, in the homes she’s selling. “The bowl was perfect. Perhaps it was not what you’d select if you faced a shelf of bowls, and not the sort of thing that would inevitable attract a lot of attention at a crafts fair, yet it had real presence” (Par. 1). Andrea is proud of her bowl she tries to make it as unnoticeable as possible. She tries to make it blend in with the other things as it was not strategically placed. “But the bowl was not ostentation, or even so noticeable that anyone would suspect that it had been placed deliberately” (Par. 4). She knew people would notice it but not know that it was placed there on purpose, right at their face, to make them feel at home. She enjoys watching people’s responses to it. Once, a woman had wanted to know where she could get a bowl like that. Andrea pretended to take a few days to ask. Then, she called the woman back and lied, saying that the owners couldn’t remember where they got it. The narrator describes how Andrea perceives this love within her. The bowl was kept on a coffee table because she wanted to see it, it was large enough that it did not seem fragile or vulnerable, that was the way she saw this love. She was glad she had it and felt it was strong and invulnerable. She does not let her husband drop his keys into the bowl. When he...